08/01/2012 7:05PM

Benburb, Canada's Horse of the Year in 1992, euthanized

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Benburb, Canada's 1992 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old, died Wednesday at Hagyard Equine Medical Center here. A 23-year-old Dr. Carter gelding, Benburb was euthanized because of complications from melanoma, the Old Friends equine retirement facility announced.

During his championship season, Benburb defeated his Queen's Plate vanquisher, Alydeed, in the pair's next race, taking the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie by a half- length. He also won the Grade 2 Molson Export Million Stakes and finished second in the Grade 3 Eclipse Handicap. After winning his Sovereign Awards, he came back at 4 to win the Durham Cup and place in Canada's Fair Play Breeders' Cup Stakes and Kentucky's Turfway Championship Handicap. Benburb also was stakes-placed at 2, thanks to a third-place finish in the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine. He won 7 of his 22 starts and finished second twice and third four times. He collected earnings of $1,159,949.

Knob Hill Stables, which also campaigned Benburb, bred him from their Vice Regent mare Rosedon. She also produced stakes-winner Lady Aloma, by Cozzene.

Benburb had resided at Old Friends in central Kentucky since 2008, when Perkins-Mackey Stables manager Catherine Perkins donated him. "We're so happy Benny got to live out his life as a champion," Perkins said in a statement issued by Old Friends.

"We were really blessed to have retired Benburb," Old Friends founder Michael Blowen said. "He was the kindest of them all. He was farm manager Janet Beyersdorfer's favorite, so he was the teacher's pet. When his time came, we returned his kindness. And he was grateful. He is irreplaceable."